Four Ways to Stay Fresh in Your Ministry
What do we do when standing face-to-face with a teenager who suffers the crushing blow of not fulfilling a dream or with an employee who cannot seem to settle in on a job? What may we say to someone who looks at life and wonders, "What is the sense of it all?" How do we witness one more couple become man and wife without questioning if they are going to make it one year or ten years? Is "'till death do you part" a pipe dream?
How do you stay fresh during dark days of the soul?
1. Keep on Abiding
Stop and read John 15:5. Notice Jesus says we can do "nothing" apart from abiding in him. Imagine you are standing on a practice range hitting horrible golf shots. Tiger Woods is watching your swing and graciously offers, "Hey, how would you like to hit a golf ball like me?" Then he does something unique.
Mr. Woods unzips you and steps into your body and then he plays his game through you. That's what abiding in Christ is like too! Jesus steps into our lives and lives victoriously through us! That thought encourages me to keep on allowing Him to live through me.
2. Stay Accountable
Find a friend...someone who will hold you accountable during discouraging times. Many of us make morally tragic mistakes out of depression. Remember, it takes only one pin to burst a balloon! Instead of listening to the accuser of the brethren, we need friends...folks who will risk telling us the truth in any situation.
The compound term encourage literally means, "to open up and pour courage in us." That's what friends do in you and me. When we feel drained and depressed, they pour courage in us. Where would Paul the apostle have been without the likes of a Barnabas? Where would Elijah be without Elisha? What about David and Jonathan? Consider Moses and Jethro? Friends help us stay fresh during the heat of intense ministry.
3. Remain Faithful, Teachable and Available
Staying fresh demands a commitment to being a follower when the road gets rough; it means following through when it seems easier to quit; it includes following up even when we are unable to make sense of life. Like Paul, be faithful (2 Timothy 4:7); be available (Galatians 2:20); and be teachable (Philippians 3:10). When discouraging times come, change your attention from your self to the Savior!
4. Rest in the Lord
We stay fresh when we rest. If I were stranded on a deserted island and given only one page in my Bible it would be Romans 8. What an incredibly encouraging chapter! If I had only a passage it would be Romans 8:28-39. Wow! To think that our God loves us that much is amazing!
If I could have only one verse in the Bible it might well be Romans 8:31b, which says: "...If God is for us, who is against us?"
The God of glory is for you. He smiles at every thought of you. He loves you. Discouragement is inevitable in the life of every believer. Do not let the enemy camp out at your address. Ask God to refresh you with His word, His Spirit and His call. Jeremiah 29:11 promises, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."